Sunday, March 23, 2008

magical memories - Disneyland circa mid-1980s

I've been a Disneyland annual passholder for a number of years now, but I wasn't one of those who grew up being taught to love Disney. Sure, living in Southern California, we would visit periodically, maybe once every couple of years and/or when relatives might be in town, but we mostly went just because it was the thing to do. In the mid-80s during a summer break from college, I ended up getting a job at Disneyland, and during that same summer, I spent one of the most memorable days there. I was usually off on one or two days during the week, and I can't remember how it came about, but my brother, six years older than me, decided to take a mid-day off work, and we took our parents to Disneyland for the day.

Some people say that small children are too young to take to Disneyland because they won't really enjoy it or remember anything. Others say that it's not any fun without children being along. Others only like going with friends. Well, to me, your experience at Disneyland is what you choose to make of it. It doesn't matter what configuration of ages or relationships might be in your group. Disneyland is truly a place for families of all types and children of all ages.

I don't remember too many specifics about the day except for one thing - the Main Street Electrical Parade. We had decided we wanted to see that, and our parents liked parades anyway, so we made sure to stake out good seats early. We found a location along Main Street where our parents could sit on a bench (which would be more comfortable for them) where they could enjoy snacks while watching the parade, and my brother and I sat on the curb so we could be up close and personal. We were two adults, but we were having as much fun as any of the kids around us, and I think that's when I started waving at the parade performers and trying to get them to wave back. I remember managing to get some of them, even the non-character people, to wave back - double-points if it was one of the people holding a pole or something with two hands, so they had to maneuver a bit to take one hand off to wave.

My parents told us later that it was the most fun they'd ever had at Disneyland. On previous trips, it was usually with the entire family, so there were more people to take into consideration, whereas this time, it was just the four of us. They said that our sisters had really been into shopping, so lots of time was spent wandering through stores, which they didn't really enjoy. We did very little shopping that day (surprising to those who know me, I know), and basically did rides all day. There were probably some that my parents didn't go on, but generally, we were all able to go on rides together.

That summer, we ended up spending a few more days like that, visiting other locations with just the four of us, but it's the memory of watching the MSEP with my brother and my parents that stands out in my mind.

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